The burden of Africa versus the burden of the West
12 July, 2020
I was riding my bike with Nkosi up Krugersdorp Hill this morning when we came across some Africans scouring the bush on the upper side. We stopped to see what they were doing and saw that they, about 6 people, were breaking what appeared to be dead wood off the ‘forest’ of protea plants. The protea is our National flower. They had a driver and bakkie parked on the side of the road below. When asked what they were doing, the replies that came included:
‘who’s land is this anyway? Apartheid is a thing of the past! Land distribution will happen, get used to it! Leave us alone!’
One of these men was not even 20 years of age. He was the most vociferous.
Nkosi is being supported to run his own bike shop in Tembisa and wants to make a success of it. He encourages and trains young township children to ride bikes. The support he gets is because he is making an effort. He has been given professional bike maintenance training at Torque Zone, a full set of tools to be able to carry out the repairs, premises and parts funding. He is being trained and introduced to various people that can assist him going forward. He is very appreciative of all this and is at work in his shop every day without question. He pays his own way and does good along his path.
The tree strippers were taking what belongs to Johannesburg Parks and through this to all those of the area. They were damaging the trees, trespassing, and stealing.
Both Nkosi, myself, and the Tree Strippers look just like homo-sapiens from the outside. It is what lives in each of us that is different. What lives in us has something to do with what we are ‘fed’ when we are young which includes our early nutrition, family life, and our role models in all forms of leadership. If our attention is never drawn to beauty, selflessness, patience, care, openness, skill, experience and so on, we may not notice these qualities in the world around us as we become adults. These are intrinsic problems within our societies today no matter where we live.
In Africa we have these homo-sapiens alive and living physically, but living with all sorts of inner conceptual and hardness of soul issues. Some are drawn into economic activities and with them come these harnesses, this political dogma or racist intolerance. The economic activities in any society need to produce relevant products efficiently for the populous or that society will live with poor quality at high cost, or alternatively, imports. Joblessness will remain high and the currency will weaken in direct relationship to the irrelevance and inefficiency of the economic activity. To be able to be part of the world economy, the people entering the economic sphere need to be able to purify and pour their untainted, open, courageous, clear, objective, caring humanity into the requirements of relevance and efficiency in the economic sphere. The attitude of the Tree Strippers could be typical in a society. A society loaded with this reality in the souls of its people is going to battle to have any sort of sustainable economy. This appears to be a real burden in the Southern parts of Africa.
In the West, their human capacity problems are different but impact both their Rights sphere and their Economic sphere on the same fundamental conceptual base. The West has the huge problem where many ‘believe’ that their inner activity and who they are has little or no impact on the way the world functions and works. Machines will do everything – but who makes the machines? If I have money that I have ‘lifted’ off the ignorance of others, I can buy comfort in this my one life. Why worry about anything else? If Africa is a good place to leverage my wealth off, let me do it. If they take bribes, let me pay these and make super-profits. Are these thinking patterns not bankrupt and will they not lead to bankruptcy for these people? The West can trash the environment in their pursuit of personal economic glory while many others bear the brunt?
In Africa, while Economic and Rights spheres will remain severely burdened until dogmas are not pursued for power purposes, the humility that has to be experienced in the associated material suffering by the poor will be part of the constructive future that is built. In the West, the same must happen as future generations are faced with what they will discover to be thoughtless overindulgence that has a lot of fixing to do. This fixing will have to come from the heart, a loving, caring, patient, selfless heart. These heart related qualities will have to permeate all the previously won material successes.